Hawthorn took the biggest gamble of the draft giving the enormously talented, yet troubled, small forward Dayle Garlett the chance he was denied in last year’s draft.
A player considered a top-20 selection at least on ability, Garlett was overlooked in last year’s draft and passed over again in this draft due to trouble he had confronted off the field.
The Hawks gave him the chance others were nervous to provide, using their second selection at pick 38 to take the light-bodied forward.
‘‘We have had a lot of contact with him over the last 12 months or so, even over the last two years when he was eligible to be one of the 17-year-olds with GWS. So we have followed him all the way through and we felt really comfortable with the pick,’’ Hawthorn recruiting manager Graham Wright said of the decision.
‘‘From a talent perspective I think everyone is in [agreement] that he is a super-talented player, but he has got to get in and work hard and let’s see where he goes.’’
In a sign of the game’s new recruiting directions, the Sydney Swans selected Sudan-born key defender Aliir Aliir with pick 44.
‘‘It’s a great story but it is important to get across too that he has not been selected because he is a great story, we think he has the potential to come through as a key defender in time,’’ Swans recruiting manager Kinnear Beatson said.
‘‘In 2012 he played in the ruck for Queensland and just ran around and this year after moving to Perth he played back in the WAFL, so it is the first year that he has played back, and then another game this year for East Fremantle he pushed forward and kicked five goals.’’
The trend for big-bodied midfielders continued, with four of the first six midfielders taken being over 190 centimetres, further demonstrating that yesterday’s ruckman is today’s midfielder.
This was most exemplified by the late-year rush for Marcus Bontempelli, with the Western Bulldogs choosing the talented 192-centimetre utility at pick four, furthering Brendan McCartney’s preference for big midfielders around the ball.
The elite picks were also notable in that four of the first five picked were left-footers, while a preference for local talent was clear.
With seven of the first 12 picks, clubs took players from within their own states.
Four of the first five picked were left-footers.
The preference for the local player over the potentially risky homesick player governed West Coast’s decision to slide down the draft order from 6 to 11 where it still secured one of the two players the club had wanted all along, Dom Sheed, and would have taken at pick six had it not traded down with its selection. The Eagles were also keen on Victorian Ben Lennon – who went to Richmond at 12.
Geelong went even more local, using the first opportunity to choose Darcy Lang from the Geelong alcons at pick 16 – a pick earlier than many had anticipated for the midfielder who broke his leg this year.
Collingwood, which had given up its second-round pick to West Coast to move from 11 to six, used its picks on Matthew Scharenberg and Nathan Freeman.
The Saints were aggressive in trading in a bid to turn around their fortunes. They selected Jack Billings with pick three and used their other top-20 picks on more midfielders in Luke Dunstan and Blake Acres.
Having had to trade into the draft after its penalties, Essendon chose Zach Merrett with pick 26. He is the brother of current Essendon player Jackson.
Tasmanian Kade Kolodjashnij was taken by the Suns at pick five while his twin brother Jake was taken by the Cats at pick 41.
North Melbourne used its pick at 47 to take a mature-age ruckman in 20-year-old Ben Brown, a Tasmanian playing in the VFL at Werribee.
James Aish, who slid slightly down the order of expectations, was taken by the pleasantly surprised Lions at pick seven.
The first pick was mere confirmation of the known, that Tom Boyd was secured by Greater Western Sydney. The Giants, who had traded into the second pick, took tall midfielder Josh Kelly.